Learn to Leverage LinkedIn
Although LinkedIn was founded before Facebook (2003), it took quite a while to establish itself as the premier professional network it is today. Over the years, the channel has evolved rapidly and has now made it even easier to build valuable business connections, establish credibility for both an individual and an organization, and increase referral traffic to your website.
“Okay, that’s great. I’ve set up my personal profile. Isn’t that enough?”
The answer, “No, that’s not enough.”
You are missing out on the true value of LinkedIn if you only set up a personal profile.
LinkedIn – contrary to popular belief – is not a means for posting a resume in hopes of landing a dream job. Companies in all industries are using LinkedIn to leverage business connections, establish credibility and industry expertise and engage in professional conversations.
Read on for five important tips to leverage your LinkedIn profile to increase business connections and qualified leads.
5 Tips for LinkedIn Success
1) Optimize Your Profile
As I said before, this should not simply be a copy of your resume.
- Be sure to fill out your About, Current and Past Work Experience (complete with bullet points of responsibilities for each), Skills & Expertise, Education, Interests, Certifications, Publications, and anything else it asks you for.
- Add a cover photo. Find a photo that professionally represents who you are. You can use your own photography or use a photo from a royalty-free site such as Unsplash. This isn’t a place to upload a photo of your dog or your kids. Those adorable photos belong on Facebook. Example: I work on a Macintosh Laptop, I love a cup of coffee (sometimes two) while I’m working and I enjoy floral design as a hobby. Here is my cover photo that includes all of these elements.
- Upload a professional image of yourself. Make sure that image, and the rest of your profile, is viewable to everyone (not just your connections). You can change this under your Settings & Privacy.
- Make sure your ‘headline’ (what appears underneath your name) is enticing, descriptive, clearly identifies what you do and incorporates keywords that people would search for to find your profile. Don’t forget, you only have 120 characters to work with here. (Example: Innovative writer, graphic designer and social media guru that helps businesses attract leads and fulfill goals.)
Learn more about optimizing your profile in this article: Develop a Rockstar LinkedIn Profile.
2) Get Recommendations
We tend to gravitate towards companies by hearing positive reviews by others. The Recommendations section is what I like to call the “word-of-mouth section.” The best way to do this is to give recommendations to others. People are much more receptive if you help them first.
Note: Not all profiles come with the Recommendations section already added to their profile. You can simply add this section by selecting the ‘Add Profile Section’ button that is directly under your cover photo.
3) Join Groups & Stay Active
This is so incredibly important, and one of the best ways to leverage your connections and your presence on LinkedIn. Find groups that are relevant to both yourself and your customers. Be sure to:
- Answer other people’s questions.
- Post topics of discussion.
- Link back to your organization’s blog articles when appropriate.
4) Post & Share Status Updates
Similar to Facebook, LinkedIn now allows you to post status updates that show up in the home feed of all of your connections. Remember, LinkedIn is a professional network, so choose your statuses wisely.
- Link to an article you find relevant to your industry.
- Ask a thought-provoking question to generate conversation.
- Link to the blog article your organization just posted on its website.
- Utilize LinkedIn Live video to share useful tips and information
- ‘Share’ valuable content that others have already posted.
5) Optimize Your Company Page
Having a LinkedIn Company Page is as essential as having a Facebook Business Page, no matter the industry. Create and optimize your company page by adding a cover photo (usually a branded photo that represents your company), a profile picture (your logo), and update all of the business information and About section.
This incredibly powerful tool allows people to ‘follow’ your organization, let’s you post status updates under your company name, post job opportunities to become available and create products/services pages to highlight what you offer. You can also post an update on your personal profile, at-mention your company and then share your post to the company page. This gives a little more personalization to your company page as viewers can actually “see” someone who works there and can also give knowledgable insight.
LinkedIn is a Sales Tool
With your personal LinkedIn profile and company page ready to go, what’s next?
The answer: Social selling.
Social selling is developing sales relationships using social media channels such as LinkedIn. It’s the modern way to engage, connect and nurture prospects.
With 3.46 billion people currently active on social media (660 million of those are on LinkedIn), you are more than likely to reach a few potential buyers. Learn more:
Need help getting started on LinkedIn? Learn how our LinkedIn experts can help coach and train your team to proficiently use LinkedIn to grow your business.